Dec 20 2017

Report on Kurdish lawyer’s killing gathers dust for two years

An official report by Turkish Interior Ministry inspectors that looked into the possibility that police negligence had contributed to the killing of a prominent human rights lawyer has not been acted upon by the judiciary for two years, the left-wing Birgün newspaper said.

Tahir Elçi was killed in the Sur district of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey in 2015 while giving a press statement calling for an end to violence.

Elçi, a former chairman of the Diyarbakır Bar Association, had been detained several times and had received death threats after saying the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) should not be regarded as a terrorist organisation.

The report concluded there had been delays and miscommunication between officers involved in following two suspects in a vehicle in Diyarbakir. When police stopped the vehicle, near the place where Elçi was talking to reporters, the two suspects fled on foot. Elçi and two police officers were killed in the ensuing crossfire.

Since Elçi’s death, three different prosecutors have been appointed to investigate, but no one has been charged.